Wednesday, April 30, 2008

McCaskill for Veep?

What about Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill as a VP pick for Obama? She is a thoughtful senator and an effective advocate; she is from a swing state; she is a woman. She didn't vote for the Iraq war and is new enough to Washington that she wouldn't interfere with his "change" message. She is smarter, I believe, than Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is sometimes mentioned in the same breath. And she's also kind of steady and reasonable-seeming, a good match with the tone the campaign wants to set.

She probably doesn't do a lot to help Obama with the dread white-working-class vote, but I expect she would help him lock in potentially wavering former Hillary-supporters.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh boy

So, haahnster's options A through C below are looking a hell of a lot more plausible to me today than they did after the Moyers interview. I am still not convinced that people care about Rev. Wright nearly as much as the media does, but boy, what an ugly spectacle.

P.S. ... A lot of good stuff in this post, which calls Wright "pathologically narcissistic."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Indiana is not a jump ball, it's an Obama state

Okay, I was kidding when I wrote that it would all come down to Guam. The truth is, there doesn't seem to have been any "pivotal moment" in this Democratic campaign. Take the media's discussion of the super-important decisiveness of Indiana accordingly...

The real pivotal moment in the race wasn't a moment at all: It was the Obama campaign's decision early on to contest every caucus and small-state primary, while Clinton only campaigned in big-state primaries, banking on momentum. That is what made the difference in the delegate count. Provided this race does someday end, that will be what decided it.

We know now that Clinton lost ground between Ohio, where she won by 10 points, and Pennsylvania, where she won by 9. And this happened during the worst political weeks Obama has had in his entire career. So I think it's fair to conclude that the dynamic of the race has changed not at all.

What comes next? Obama has a slight lead in Indiana polls, and a large lead in North Carolina. To this point, the only movement in just about any state has been upward movement by Obama. The only real question has been to what extent Clinton can limit that movement. In states like California, Ohio and now Pennsylvania, Obama grew his support quite a bit leading up to the voting -- but Clinton held him off.

It's true that in other states (Mississippi, say) Obama started out with a big lead and held it. The point, though, is that Clinton has shown absolutely no capacity for come-from-behind victories. Has there been a single example of a state where this has happened?

Indiana is being called a "jump ball," and indeed it will probably be pretty close. But based on the other contests, isn't it most likely that Obama's support will rise as he campaigns there and runs TV ads, and that he'll be able to expand his narrow lead by at least a few points?

This movement will probably be smaller in Indiana than it was elsewhere, since media saturation means there are fewer people who are just "meeting" Obama for the first time. But the dynamic is the dynamic. If it didn't change in Pennsylvania, it is not going to change.

Regarding Rev. Wright's Interview

Re: Wright/Moyers Interview

Rev. Wright was thinking, "___________________ ."

A) I'd rather defend my own reputation now, regardless of what it does to Obama's candidacy

B) I'll deliberately hamstring Obama even further, because I feel he sold me out

C) I'd actually prefer to prevent Obama's possible election to the Presidency, because I don't know how to function in a United States that actually elects an African-American to its highest office

D) I'll phrase my responses so carefully, and speak in such a measured tone that even the worst white devils won't be able to twist my words this time

E) None of the above [Provide your own explanation]

Thursday, April 24, 2008

He's verbose!

Via Bookslut, here is David Foster Wallace stranded on a desert island:

Granted, it's an old joke, but it still works and I like the way they drew his bandana.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Guam's primary could be the pivotal moment in the Democratic campaign

On to Guam! Now, superdelegate Taling Taitano has already declared for Clinton. Will Obama's Guam state director Joshua Tenorio be able to help secure the support of unpledged supers like Antonio Charfauros, Cecilia Mafnas or Robert Underwood? Time will tell...

Presidential fantasy draft

With NFL fans having spent the last week in their offices, pretending to do work, but secretly mulling over stat sheets like GMs with overactive salivary glands, I thought about who a first round draft pick for President would be.

Of course there are basically only two teams in this league, with a couple small also-rans like so many CFL and CBA teams. So who is your fantasy presidential candidate?

Lets lay some ground rules to keep this sane:

1. Must be or have been active in a major party (although may have since defected). It's like an athlete who goes to a major Div I school getting a major leg up in visibility (that is before the NBA started getting its top recruits from high school and other countries).

2. Must be or have been in an elected or appointed government position. Like rule #1, this ensures they have the proper (or at least appropriate) training for the sport/position.

3. Must be alive.

4. Must not be a former president, but could be a former candidate.

5. Must have some kind of viability (take that for what you will).

So whatcha got? I can't really imagine who a Dem would choose (but I'm sure you'll inform me). Do you already have your dream candidate in Obama? Was Hillary a dream candidate at one point? What about Feingold?
  • Right now, and I'm certainly not alone, but Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) has a very attractive track record, and movement conservatives are a-twitter with rumors that he is a short-list veeper for McCain. Even if he's not chosen, he has good reason to think he could be heir apparent in 8 years, but what to do between the end of his term as governor to stay in the public eye? RNC chairmanship?
  • Of course, dating back to about 2000 or so, myself and fellow travelers have been yearning for former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), and the intervening years only confirmed that the wrong Bush was elected, and left us reeling for a "what could've been" world. Some still hold out hope for him in 4 years, but with his recent overtures towards non-political office (NFL commissioner?), he may be signaling that he's off the market.
  • Sen. Jim Demint (R-SC). Another red meat candidate for the VRWC. Young enough and wonkish enough to energize an apathetic Republican base.
  • Other possibles: Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Gov. Matt Blunt (R-MO), and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) (he's been promising so far in his first couple special sessions, which is in contrast to his completely listless time in Congress).

Daily Hypocrisy with the Clintons

It was not OK for Barack Obama to compare John McCain favorably to George W. Bush, while clearly stating that either Democrat would compare favorably to McCain.

It was OK for Hillary Clinton to compare John McCain favorably to Barack Obama.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Voter Apathy

Sometime over the weekend I reached my breaking point. I no longer give a flying f*ck what happens in Pennsylvania, the Democratic Primary as a whole, or even in the general election this fall.

Can anyone still say with a straight face that this extended primary contest is making either/both of the Democrats stronger? McCain is all but a sure bet to win in November. Implosion accomplished.

Hillaryous (Yes, that's a modified form of "hilarious.") in a very sad way. Good for her. Now she can run again in four years. An Obama victory in November might've forced her to wait for eight. Go team.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Less verisimilitude, please

On a scale from one to ten, I give HBO's John Adams about a six. It was pretty good I guess, though it didn't always hold together that well. I do think some of the complaints of historian Jack Rakove were at least partially answered in the last episode, which showed some of Adams's aggrieved self-absorption about how history would remember him.

Okay, whatever. But this is what I really want to say: Let's all carefully consider whether we really need to embrace some of what HBO pioneered with this series -- namely, the depiction of its characters' rotting teeth and dirty fingernails. These are period details that are no doubt exquisitely attuned for verisimilitude. But I am just asking: Do we really need to glimpse the gross, blackened teeth behind Laura Linney's lips? Isn't a healthy, non-disgusting smile one cinematic detail for which we would all happily suspend our disbelief?

[xpost What's Your Beef?]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chris Matthews sings a song

In case you missed it -- and it would be hard to have missed his smiling mug -- Chris Matthews is profiled as the cover story in the New York Times Magazine. If you haven't already read it, you must. It may only serve to confirm whatever suspicions you already harbored about the affable but self-aggrandizing, sometimes pompous talking head.

I was unsure whether my impression of him as both endearing and repellent was an inward idiosyncratic misunderstanding, or other people felt it too. Well with his ratings down, NBC quietly trying to show him the door, and this searing cover story, apparently I'm not alone. I still bias towards his show during the 6pm news block, even while randomly surfing between news channels during commercials.

This excerpt is illustrative:
“I know why he wants you on,” Matthews said to [actress Kerry] Washington while looking at Griffin. At which point Matthews did something he rarely does. He paused. He seemed actually to be considering what he was about to say. He might even have been editing himself, which is anything but a natural act for him. He was grimacing. I imagined a little superego hamster racing against a speeding treadmill inside Matthews’s skull, until the superego hamster was overrun and the pause ended.

“He wants you on because you’re beautiful,” Matthews said. “And because you’re black.” He handed Washington a business card and told her to call anytime “if you ever want to hang out with Chris Matthews.”

Change...on the margin

The more things change...
For each day that he spends campaigning in a state in the 30 days in the run-up to the election, Obama can expect to gain about 3.5 points in his margin over Clinton. And for every day that Clinton spends campaigning in that state, Obama can expect to lose about 2.4 points.
More here.

Please Help Identify The Journalist Below

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Obama would appoint Ludacris Secretary of the Interior

Evan Gahr has the good sense to expose Barack Obama's dangerous connections to black musicians:
Rappers are gaga over Obama. The superstar Jay-Z, who raps about “b------,” “hoes” and “n-----,“ even urged voters to support Obama in a robo-call for the March 4 Ohio primary and caucus. The equally foul-mouthed rapper, whose hit songs include “I love my B----,” has hyped Obama in two widely-viewed videos posted on YouTube.

The rappers have good reason to praise Obama. He has at times been an apologist for their “music.” His complicity with rappers dates back to at least 2006.
It's the scare-quotes around "music" that really clinch it for me. Read the whole thing for the terrible truth about Obama, a known associate of scary black men...

[xpost What's Your Beef?.]

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Very loud noises!

I don't say this every day, but boy does Ezra Klein hit the nail on the head about the weird, depressing political-class freakout that's going on over Obama's clumsily worded and possibly condescending comment about the motivations of small-town, working class voters.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


No doubt Obama's massive advertising campaign in Pennsylvania is having an effect there. But I wonder if it's also partly that the "Hillary can't win" narrative is taking hold. That angle has been all over the media in the past couple weeks, and people do prefer to vote for a winner...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stupid vs. ignorant

I have a new column about how there are two kinds of knowledge and, correspondingly, two kinds of stupid.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Introducing Oddballs

Alert! My good friend and old roommate Matt Lynch has a new blog about the Cubs up on the Tribune's RedEye site. He is repping the Cubs side, while some dude named Ryan Pedersen will be blogging the White Sox, but we will be skipping those posts.

Here is a bit from his introductory post:
Earliest Cubs memory: Believe it or not, my first baseball game was June 23, 1984, the now famous "Sandberg game," when Ryne Sandberg launched two home runs off of Cardinals Hall of Fame reliever Bruce Sutter during his MVP 1984 season. I was three and a half. I use the word "memory" loosely, as my recollections of being there are hazy at best. But I've been told the combination of my crying and my mother's pot roast in the oven caused us to leave early. We then listened to the thrilling conclusion on the radio because we were parked in anyway. My uncle, then my aunt's boyfriend, has not let me off the hook to this day. These days I make it through most games without any tears. Most games.
Bookmark it!

Barry ahead in Pennsylvania?

It's entirely possible that this Public Policy Polling result showing Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton by two points in Pennsylvania will turn out to be a blip or an outlier or just a mistake. But as I recall, PPP's Wisconsin prediction was the closest to the actual outcome of the primary here. So even though it seems impossible that Obama made up a 26-point deficit in just over two weeks, the PPP polls are ones to keep an eye on...